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AdWords Do Not Infringe Trademark Law – EU

By July 20, 2010May 31st, 20244 Comments

The keywords used by some companies to advertise on Google AdWords have led to a controversy regarding trademark laws.

Businesses have been known to use the names of their competitors to advertise through AdWords, and some companies have taken quite a strong exception to this practice and have gone to court to appeal against it, and prevent Google from selling their brand name as a keyword.

Earlier, this month, Europe’s Court of Justice the highest legal authority in Europe has ruled in favour of Google in one such case.

The specific case being referred to was between two competitors who made temporary or portable cabins. The names of the companies concerned are PortaKabin and Primakabin respectively. Primakabin was using the words, Portakabin, Portacabin, Portokabin and Portocabin among its keywords to advertise on Google.

The competitor Portakabin has objected to this.

The judges have finally ruled that, companies, using the names of competitors as Internet Advertising keywords, is not an infringement of Trademark laws in the European Union.

This judgment will be a big victory for Google as it will indirectly boost the revenue they can generate through advertising.

This judgment also upholds another ruling passed earlier in a similar case between Louis Vuitton and Google. The court maintains that as long as the internet service provider is neutral about the content they display, there is no infringement of trademark laws.

The French Supreme Court where the case between Google and Louis Vuitton was first heard, has also sided with the ruling given by the European court according to sources from Google.

Sources from Louis Vuitton however, have claimed that the French Court has held Google ‘liable for the sale of trademarks as AdWords on the grounds of civil liability.’

Clearly it looks as though there will be some more debating required in such cases.